SHSU eases past Lamar 84-70
Published: Monday, February 10, 2014
Updated: Monday, February 10, 2014 22:02
Lamar Cardinals had a hard time soaring, as they hit a no fly zone when they came into Johnson Coliseum Saturday.
Sam Houston State University’s men’s basketball team controlled the game’s pace to cap off another strong Southland Conference outing, defeating Lamar 84-70 to extend their four-game win streak.
The Bearkats came into the match slated second in the conference standings, two games behind conference leader Stephen F. Austin State.
Contrary to their strong finish, the Bearkats started off slow as Lamar forced SHSU’s starters into early foul trouble. Yet, head coach Jason Hooten’s bench was able to pick things up for SHSU.
Dakarai Henderson and Terrance Motley came off the bench to build upon the Bearkats’ lead and play steel curtain defense. Henderson finished the match leading all SHSU scorers with 13 points while Motley took care of the boards with 12 rebounds on the game.
“It means a lot being trusted by coach,” Henderson said. “He talks to me about being patient and being ready to play whenever I get my chance.”
Ball movement was crucial in the first half, as the Bearkats didn’t force low-percentage shots. The Bearkats held a consistent double-digit lead in the opening 20 minutes, leading as much as 23 points to close the half 48-27. Junior guard Kaheem Ransom spread the wealth with 6 assists while Jabari Peters chimed in with 5 assists of his own.
While Paul Baxter and Henderson led the way in what seemed like a 3-point party on offense in the first half to dagger Lamar, the defense forced the Cardinals into sloppy play and forced turnovers.
And the game would continue to be one-sided into the second half.
SHSU’s strong second half performance didn’t allow Lamar to get in comeback range.
“We got to concentrate on putting them away and we have to play better no matter how much time is left or who is on the floor,” Hooten said.
As SHSU ran away with the game maintaining a strong 18-point lead, Hooten got a chance to see the depth of his roster, playing eight players off the bench.
“We got guys that are ready to play and they can play,” Hooten said. “They can all shoot the ball and score. It’s a good feeling to know that you got guys you can depend on.”
The Bearkats will see two crucial tests this week: Northwestern and SFA.
SHSU will tip-off against Northwestern Thursday at 7:45 p.m., followed by a SLC showdown for the No. 1 spot against SFA Saturday at 3:45 p.m.